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WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW

Weekly GRACE NOTES

A Message from the Rev. Richard H. Graham

Dear fellow servants of the Kingdom,

I have been hesitant to write about what happened in Charlottesville last weekend. So much has been written and said already. And already the events of last weekend have been absorbed into the larger political narrative floating around us. It's not just what happened that draws our attention now - who said what, and when, afterwards seems to be almost more newsworthy. I think we're in danger of losing a focus on the actual events of last weekend. So humbly, and not as if you didn't know these things, I decided to write to you after all.

First, what happened in Charlottesville was a horrible symptom of a horrible problem. No argument about free speech, and no reverence for any historical figure, justifies the kind of hatred that brought white supremacists together last weekend. For many Lutherans especially, the torchlight parade on Friday night and the shouts about the Jews were a terrifying reminder of what happened in Germany in the 1930s. Seeing the way that events unfolded, especially seeing the film of the car crashing into the crowd, we had the chance to witness terrorism of a kind we have (foolishly) tended to associate only with other people's countries.

But what happened in Charlottesville was only a horrible symptom. The problem is racism, our beloved country's original sin. So many people in this country believe that somehow some others have a less important place here, or don't belong here at all. So many of the rest of us, who think we "don't see race," actually don't see the advantages that our own race allows us to assume. The heart-breaking difficulties of talking about race, of calling out the racism of people we love and respect, of confronting our own racism - these difficulties are now again the obvious burden of our time. What happened in Charlottesville will happen again and again; it actually has been happening all along. And we are again being called to work so that the better angels of our history can keep the darker angels at bay.

Only God's grace will make anything good come to pass out of what happened last weekend. God's grace, woven into the fabric of the ordinary world, is what is leading so many people with otherwise divided opinions to say that there was something deeply wrong and dangerous revealed in the events in Charlottesville.

Beyond that, the grace of God poured out through the gospel in the churches will bear fruit, and we pray it will bear fruit through us. I encourage you to talk about what you're thinking and feeling now, and I encourage you to let others do the same. In particular, I encourage you to find people who don't agree with you and to talk to them, even though for most of us this will take some work. As citizens and human beings we are not immune to the pain and anxiety in our country. As Christians, we know that pain and anxiety are not stronger than hope and compassion. As Christian leaders we have the blessed responsibility to say in public that the judgment of God and the mercy of God are still fully operative, and that the Holy Spirit is always at work to draw all people into Christ.

Please forgive me for anything in this message that seems wrong or shallow to you. I know your experience and your situation may give you better insight than I have. I would love to hear from you if you have a comment or just something you want me to know. I am grateful that we are partners together in the work of the gospel, and I'm proud that our synod has already been working on conversations about race and racial equity. And please be sure that I believe we have all the tools we need for this moment, since it is God in Jesus Christ who has called us and who has promised to be with us now and always.

In Jesus,

The Rev. Richard H. Graham

Bishop

Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod

Blessing of the Backpacks

Sunday, August 27 is our annual Blessing of the Backpacks. During our service, all students - young and old - will come forward to receive a special blessing to send them off to school with our prayers and blessings for God's presence, love and protection throughout the school year.

Remember to bring your backpacks!

Sunday's Cool begins!

Startting Sunday, September 10 our awesome religious education program takes place during the service, beginning right after the Children's Sermon until the kids come back to join their families for communion. It's fun, friendly and relevant education. Won't you consider being one of our Sunday's Cool teachers? We only need four more! The lessons are in an easy to use online format-- you customize the lessons based on your own teaching style (games, crafts, Bible lesson, songs, videos, etc). If you'd like to know more, please contact Karen Stamp at karenstamp@verizon.net

NEW SERVICE PROJECT

SERVE Ministry Needs Plastic Grocery bags!

Our NEW SERVICE PROJECT is underway!

We are making blankets for the homeless out of plastic grocery bags!

Recyclable, washable, water-repellent and warm, this is a wonderful way to help the homeless and reuse all those extra plastic grocery bags we all collect!

It's easy, fun, and rewarding! Here's all we need:

- lots of plastic grocery bags

- volunteers to stay after church to learn how to make them!

This is an ongoing project, and no experience is necessary!

Women's Bible Study NEW DAY!

Please note our new day:

We meet the first THURSDAY of each month, at 7:00pm, here at the church.

We are continuing our study of Esther.

We are a group of women seeking to grow in our relationship with God and our relationships with one another, and we would love for you to join us!

COMMUNITY SERVICE Ministry

Our Community Service Ministry is requesting donations of non-perishable food items. The shelves at the SERVE pantry are getting bare so we'd like to be able to provide ample food supplies for those in need. Please drop off any non-perishable food items in the collection container downstairs.

To learn more about this importantministry please see Kathy Panther.

Thank you for being part of our mission to

Love God + Love Others!

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